Teacher & Student
Alternative Certification

The Mobile County Public School System employs non-certified applicants in core critical need areas when there are no applicants who are certified available. The critical need areas are mathematics, science, and foreign languages. Other subjects can apply to this certification route depending on shortages at the time.  Alternative Certification is rarely if ever used for Elementary Education, Physical Education and Social Studies.

To be considered for an alternative route certification, an applicant MUST have a Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on a bachelor's degree and 3.0 on a master's degree.  For persons with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.74 a higher alternate passing score on the Praxis is required. The higher scores average 5 to 10 percentage points higher than the regular passing score. (Alabama State Department of Education Policy)

Applicants interested in teaching mathematics, science or a foreign language should have an academic major in the teaching field, have 32 semester hours, including 19 semester hours of upper division credits in the teaching field, or passing scores on the Praxis II subject assessment in the teaching field. The Praxis II Exam is designed for college majors.  In other words, the persons with the best chance of passing the exam will have a high concentration (25-35 semester hours) of college courses in that subject.  Ten to twenty hours of upper level courses (i.e. 300 or 400) in the subject to teach are needed for hiring.

For those whose academic majors are related to math, such as Mechanical Engineering and some other engineering degrees the Praxis is required PRIOR to hiring.  For those whose academic majors are related to science, such as Biomedical Sciences, Botany or Chemical Engineering the Praxis is required PRIOR to hiring.

The alternative route to certification for those with a bachelor's degree would apply for a Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field. It exists as a means for primarily Science and Math majors to gain certification to teach in public schools when there is a shortage of traditional certified teachers. The Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field CANNOT be gained in advance.  The applicant must meet qualifications (GPA, and passing Praxis II scores  [see Required Tests below]) in order to be hired. There must be a vacancy and the applicant must be recommended by a principal for a teaching position. Once recommended by a principal and approved by Human Resources, we assist the applicant in applying for the Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF)


FOR MATH: Persons interested in teaching Math should take the Mathematics: Content Knowledge Praxis II (Code 5161) prior to September 1 of the school year of employment. A score of 155 is required but goes up to 160 on September 1, 2020.  Persons with backgrounds in Accounting and Bookkeeping are not recommended to take this Math Praxis. In order to be successful on the math Praxis you would need to have taken college courses such as Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus I, II & II, Calculus Based Physics, Applied Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Intro to Number Theory, Complex Variables, Discrete Math Structures and others.   

 NEW FOR 2019-20 - as adopted by the State Board of Education on August 8, 2019.

 Algebra I Algebra I 5162 157
 Geometry Geometry 5163 148


FOR SCIENCE: Persons interested in teaching Science should take:

Biology: Content Knowledge (Code 5235)  if you have a Biology related degree/major  (Passing Score of 150 is required)

Chemistry: Content Knowledge (Code 5245) if you have a Chemistry related degree/major (Passing Score of 150 is required)

General Science: Content Knowledge (Code 5435) if you have taken Biology courses, Chemistry courses, at least one Physics course and at least one Earth/Space course. (Passing Score of 152 is required)

NEW IN 2017-18 and after - For certification in Middle Grades only.
To be Certified in
General Science (4–8)
Mathematics (4–8)
Test Code
Qualifying Scores

The passing of the Praxis does not guarantee an applicant a position.

FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGES: Persons interested in teaching a foreign language MUST pass the appropriate Praxis II.  To teach Spanish, Praxis II Code 5195 must be passed (168 required score).  To teach French, Praxis II Code  5174 must be passed (162 score).

Only one of the above tests needs to be taken and passed.  Passing scores must be submitted prior to September 1 of the school year of employment. All expenses for the exams are borne by the applicant.

PRAXIS II: To register for the Praxis II go to www.ets.org/praxis/al The site will provide you with information on testing sites in Mobile and testing dates. Tests are given during "testing windows" and can be taken at various times. The site also provides an outline of the sub-subject matter questions as well as sample questions.  You can purchase e-Study Guides from the Praxis site.  For those who prefer a paper copy, check with local college bookstores or go to http://www.amazon.com/. The teacher's certificate that will be issued will be in the field of the subject of the Praxis taken.  Teachers cannot change subjects once in the three year Provisional Certificate approach.

If the applicant's GPA is between 2.0 and 2.74 the applicant MUST make the higher Alternate Praxis Score as listed on the Alabama State Department of Education Forms Addendum to Supplement FTZ or Addendum to Supplement CPZ (Career Tech Subjects).

ALABAMA BASIC SKILLS TEST - No longer required for the Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF) Approach (effective 4-17-19)

The applicant seeking alternative route certification must register and pass the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP) which is the Praxis II subject assessment in the teaching field prior to September 1 of the school year of employment.  The Core Basic Skills is no longer required if one is pursuing the Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCT) and has a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Depending on the time of year hired and the non-availability of certified teachers in certain academic areas there are certain measures that can lead to hiring on an Emergency Certificate valid one scholastic term and one time only. The time spent on an Emergency Certificate does NOT count toward tenure. The appropriate test(s) must be passed before rehiring for the next school term. We discouraging hiring someone on an Emergency Certificate who does not meet the requirements of the Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF). MOBILE COUNTY PREFERS THAT THE SUBJECT MATTER PRAXIS EXAM IS PASSED FIRST.  This indicates mastery of the subject matter.  

The provisional route of certification is a series of one year certificates over a three-year period of time. The teacher must meet the requirements at the end of each year in order to be rehired and to file for the next certificate. See the Provisional Certificate Approach Chart at the top of the page above. Four designated college courses from an Alabama College or University must be taken in the first two years of employment. Two are required the first year and two the second year.  A list of Alabama Colleges and Universities is available in Human Resources as well on the Alabama Department of Education Website at www.alsde.edu go to Education Professionals (in the middle of the headings on the top), then Certification (over on the left of the page), then Provisional Certification (one of the tabs in the middle), then Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (on the left), then click on the tab Coursework. Course times and availability vary from college to college and also vary from year to year. Just like the certification cannot be gained in advance, the college courses cannot be taken in advance eitherA teacher must be in the Alternative Program in order to take the courses.  A grade of "C" or higher is required.  All tuition expenses must be borne by the teacher.  An individual may not be employed for more than three years while holding an alternative certificate.

PRINCIPALS OF LEARNING AND TEACHING (PLT) EXAM IS BEING PHASED OUT. Only those persons currently working under a Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field will required to have taken and passed the PLT Test that is appropriate to the grade span (i.e. grades 6-12) of the educator certificate in addition to meeting previous testing requirements (i.e. subject matter Praxis II test) for the specific area in which certification is sought. The test code for 6-12 is 5624 (a score of 157 is required. All expenses for the exam must be borne by the teacher. This test is required for those hired on a Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF) for the school term 2019-20 and prior.

NEW edTPA PORTFOLIO. Anyone issued the first Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field for the 2020-21 School Term and after, will be required to take the educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) to assess the content pedagogical knowledge and abilities of applicants seeking regular certification after the Provisional Certificates in a Teaching Field.  (Alabama State Board of Education Resolution, January 11, 2018).The edTPA SHOULD be taken during employment when the teacher is on the 2nd Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field. If retakes are necessary they can be done during the 3rd PCTF because the edTPA is REQUIRED PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF THE Regular Professional Certificate.

Teachers must prepare a portfolio of materials. edTPA requires aspiring teachers to demonstrate readiness to teach through lesson plans designed to support their students' strengths and needs; engage real students in ambitious learning; analyze whether their students are learning, and adjust their instruction to become more effective. Teachers submit unedited video recordings of themselves at work in a real classroom as part of a portfolio that is scored by highly trained educators. edTPA builds on decades of teacher performance assessment development and research regarding teaching skills and practices that improve student learning. The performance assessment scores MUST be received by Human Resources PRIOR to being re-hired for the school term following the 3rd Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field. All expenses for the assessment must be borne by the teacher.  See attachment at the top of the page edTPA Guidance Sheet for more details.

Interested in becoming a Special Education Teacher?

Persons with a bachelor's degree in psychology or sociology often make good Special Education Teachers.  

There are TWO routes or paths that can be taken to become a Special Education Teacher when the person already has a bachelor’s degree in another subject. 

 ONE PATH – Out of State College or University


1.     A master’s degree from a regionally accredited out of state university that leads toward teacher certification. The college or university has their own requirements to be admitted to their graduate program. You must meet their requirements.

2.     Upon completion of the degree the teacher must gain teacher certification from the state where the university is located.  Once receiving that state’s certificate the teacher must apply for an Alabama Certificate by what is known as reciprocity. The forms and procedures for doing this are on the Alabama Department of Education Website http://www.alsde.edu/sec/ec/Pages/outofstatecertificates-all.aspx?navtext=Out of State Certificates

3.     You are NOT allowed to work as a teacher until you have the Alabama Teacher’s Certificate.


ANOTHER PATH – IN STATE College or University - see Alternative Interim Route to Special Education Certification Chart [at top of the page]


1.     You must be unconditionally admitted to a regionally accredited Graduate School of Education of an Alabama college or university to work on what is known as an Alternative Master’s Degree. Unconditionally admitted means that the university is accepting you as a graduate student and you have met all requirements for admission.  Sometimes teachers are admitted conditionally. This means that they have certain tests or prerequisites that have to be met before they can be admitted to the graduate school. You cannot be employed as a teacher if you have been admitted conditionally.

 2.     If admitted unconditionally you can be issued a series of 3 one year Interim Certificates (IEC). You must have met all testing requirements for the IEC at the time of application for the IEC. The master’s degree must be gained within three years.  An official transcript is required each year to show progress on the degree. At the end of the process the degree is awarded and the college or university will apply for you to receive a regular Alabama Professional Teacher Certificate. This certificate is good for five years and can be renewed every five years by documenting a total of 50 in-service hours over the five year period.

3.     The teacher IS allowed to work/teach for these three years while working on the degree. The degree MUST be finished in 3 scholastic years.

Applicants to teach must be recommended by a principal in order to be hired. Human Resources then checks to see if the applicant qualifies for a current valid teacher certificate. Current employees may do a Transfer Application (online).

Effective with the 2018-19 School Term applicants can no longer be hired on an Emergency Teacher’s Certificate in Special Education.

The State Department of Education sets and regulates the certification requirements for teachers in the State of Alabama. Please visit the State Department of Education's website www.alsde.eduGo to Education Professionals, then Certification for complete and updated information about the certification requirements.

State Resource Personnel

-Shavon Cummings, Coordinator of Educator Certification - Contact Teacher Certification
Phone: (334) 242-9977

Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP)
-Alethea Hampton, Coordinator of Educator Assessment - AECTP@alsde.edu
Phone: (334) 242-9935

Online Application - 
Teach In Alabama is an online program which allows users to apply to every school system in Alabama with one electronic application.